It wasn’t long after I got married that I had a falling out with someone. At the core of our disagreement lied my fitness to write theology. I didn’t end up writing anything on the topic in question, but I came across a situation where a local church started embracing a very authoritarian theology. I did a massive amount of research on the topic and felt I should share it with the world. There were books on the subject, and they were helpful, but I didn’t think they covered everything they needed to. So, I turned all that research in to this website. I think it is the most helpful thing I’ve ever written. It didn’t comprehensively address all the issues surrounding authoritarian churches. Other good resources popped up about recovery and healing. It was CoveringAndAuthority.com that became the place to understanding the flawed theology.
One of the consistent comments I received was that it was well written, and the tone wasn’t adversarial. People who are trapped in authoritarian churches are caught between a sense that something is wrong and the fear that rebellion would mean disaster for them and even their family. By keeping the tone respectful and solidly biblical I tried to make it as easy for people trapped in these churches to read. Because it was a website it was always just one google search away and completely anonymous. As it played out I noticed that offering good theology was better at keeping people from being sucked in by manipulative leaders or making sense of life after they got out. These manipulative authoritarian practices are pretty good at impairing independent thought. It often requires something more jarring than a theological critique to make people question authoritarian leaders. It often required something blatantly dishonest or abusive to get people to question things.
The website still gets visits from people search and trying to make sense of things.